- Arts and Design
Photography Tips For Spring Flower Pictures
What Better Time For Flower Photography Than Spring?
Images of Spring flowers are about to present themselves in abundance.
Are you ready for this annual event?
All you really need is a digital camera and a bit of knowledge about how to use it for taking pictures of Spring flowers.
Keep in mind that the most important factor is you, the photographer. You don't need the latest and greatest in camera equipment (although a good camera is not a hindrance).
In this article you will find 5 or 6 helpful photography tips that will help you to get better images of spring flowers this year than in years past.
The Right Camera Makes A Difference - MY camera is the Canon Rebel T3i (aka 600D)
Bonus Tip: Always carry your camera with you!
If you don't have your camera with you, you might miss a photo op like this. I was driving through a neighborhood on my way to pick up my wife, and I happened upon this scene. I could not pass it up without grabbing my T3i and snapping a photo. So glad I did.
Tip #1 For The Best Images Of Spring Flowers - Take photos of spring flowers in the "Golden Hours"
Close-up Foxglove Flower
The Golden Hours are early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Personally, I prefer early morning.
Natural light in the Golden Hours is.. well, Golden. It enhances the natural beauty of flowers and all of nature. If you find the perfect flower blossom, but you photograph it at noon, you will not get the same rich color and texture you can get during the Golden Hours.
Generally, those hours are before 10AM and after 4PM, but it really depends on the time of year, and for Spring, this does apply. However, during summer, you will need to adjust the times a bit. Just know that the higher the sun is in the sky, the less attractive your flower images will be.
Look at the intricate beauty of this Foxglove. Normally, you might notice that the flower is pretty, but once you examine a single blossom, you see so much more. This is a marvel of creative design and color.
Another advantage of early morning pictures is dew drops. You can create your own drops, but there is nothing quite like the real thing. The poppy below is an excellent example of this.
Taking pictures of spring flowers will give a new appreciation for nature and its Creator.
First Flower Macro
The beginning of the journey
There are moments in your life that are unforgettable. Like the first "Man on the Moon," or, where you were when the Twin Towers went down on 9-11.
It's like that for me when I took this spring flower picture. My sister-in-law had cut some flowers from her yard and I took this one to test the close-up capability of my new Olympus 3-MP point and shoot camera.
It may not look that great by professional standards, but when I viewed this on my computer, I was hooked. My heart went pitter-pat, and I could not wait to take my next shot.
Spring flower photography only lasts a short time, but it is my absolute favorite time of year for taking flower photos. It happens after several months of drab, brown landscape. Color bursts into our lives, and there is a wonderful metamorphosis that takes place around me and in my inner-most being.
God gives us the miracle of flowers once again.
I have taken thousands of spring flower images since this orange tulip, and I have progressed through several cameras. However, this image will live on in my memory as the one that started my love for photography.
Learn & Master the Art of Spring Flower Photography
Tip #2 For Super Spring Flower Shots - Turn off the flash
Natural light is the flower photographer's best friend.
Find the setting for turning off the automatic flash on your camera and use it.. Turn it off.
The flash produces unnatural light and ugly shadows.
So, if there is not enough light to take a sharp picture without the flash, you will have to adjust for it. The very best thing you can do is use a tripod. If you don't have one, find another way to steady your camera, like setting it on a stable surface. Rocks, walls, and even the ground are good for this task.
You can also hold your camera tightly against an upright object such as a tree or a wall so there is no blur in your picture.
Every time you are photographing flowers, try to do it without the flash. This is the best way to bring out the natural beauty that God has hidden there.
The home made birdhouse with Morning Glories was taken without a flash, but a tripod was used as well as the Rebel's 2-second timer. The self-timer was insurance that me pressing the shutter button would not cause the camera to shake while taking the flower photo.
Bonus Tip To Improve Flower Photography - Learn From Professionals
Tip #3 For Spring Flower Pictures - Use a wide aperture for shallow depth of field
Grape HyacinthsThe best way to achieve a photo with blurred edges and background is to use a very large Aperture. Set your camera on A or Av, then use the selection wheel to go to the lowest number. Depending on the lens you have, this could be something like f3.6 or f2.8.
Position your camera as close as your lens will allow and zoom your lens so the flower fills the frame.
Make sure you focus on the correct part of the flower because the areas outside the focal point will be blurry.
This particular flower image was taken with an Aperture of f2.8 using a Sigma 105mm macro lens on my Canon Rebel T3i.
Macro lenses are amazing tools for flower photos like this one.
The Canon 100mm lens, while a bit pricey, has one of the highest user satisfaction rates of any camera lens, bar none.
Camera Lenses For Floral Photography
After you get a good start in your flower photography, you will undoubtedly want to get a new lens. For single flower photos, there is nothing better than a dedicated macro lens.
The good news is that this lens has other uses, most notably as a portrait lens. It is quite versatile.
Another highly rated lens for about half the price. This one is made specifically for cameras like the Canon Rebel series, but it will also be good on a 60D or 7D.
If you can't spring for a new lens right now, you can use a set of extension tubes to make any lens into a macro. The only problem is that you will have to manually focus with these particular extension tubes. They do not support your Canon camera's auto focus. But for $12, who can complain?
Cheap Alternative To Macro Lenses
Macro is beautiful, but a new macro lens does cost $$$.
If you want to get closer to your flowers, you can alter the lens you have rather than buying a new lens. Extension tubes or close-up filters might just be the key to your next fantastic flower foto.
Tip #4 For Spring Flower Pictures
Think through the shot
You really need to look at the shot with a creative eye.
Check all aspects and angles to see which one gives you the best outcome. Even though you can see that you have a beautiful flower in front of you, oftentimes, the details and distractions around the shot go unnoticed.
There are usually bits of debris and dead or nearly dead flowers surrounding the beauty of your chosen flower. They must be moved or removed so that your shot will not be ruined.
It is possible to "create" the background that will make this spring flower special. A simple piece of paper can do the trick.
You might also hold the surrounding flowers away to isolate the one you will be photographing. Clothes pins or twine are good for this job.
Anything you can do to make the star of the photo a real star is worth the time and effort. Don't just "spray and pray" that you will get a good shot. It does not happen just because there is a really pretty flower.
In the daffodil picture on the right, the first shot I took was from eye level. It had lots of grass and driveway behind the flower. It was not pretty. I had to get below the level of the daffodil with my Canon Rebel and hold back the neighboring flowers to get this shot. It was worth the extra effort.
Another very inexpensive option.. make sure you order the right filter size (look on your lens for the correct number - something like 58mm).
In this example of the pretty spring tulips, I simply put a piece of black poster board behind the flowers. I then used PhotoShop to increase the black, but many of the online photo editing software will do this for you - no cost and no software installation.
I used my point and shoot camera
equivalent to a Panasonic Lumix ZS20 for this shot.
Add Spring Beauty All Year Long
This tulip door mat will keep spring in your thoughts, even during the colorless days of winter.
Tip #5 For Spring Flowers Pictures - Change Your Position
This image is somewhat deceiving. The entire flower, including the leaves and stem is only a few inches tall.
Using a macro lens, you can make the flower look like a giant, but your have to get down where the flowers are. You may have to even lay on the ground, so bring a blanket or plastic sheet to your photo shoot.
Place your camera on a solid surface. This might be the ground, but your can use a beanbag or even your camera case as a make-shift tripod.
Isolate the flower by using a zoom lens.
Take pictures in the early morning to get dew drops like this. They add a nice texture to the photo.
Tripods - Great For Stablizing Your Camera
Tip #6 For Better Spring Flower Photos - Use Props
Linton roses are so beautiful, yet they are not often noticed as much as other spring flowers.
In my yard, the linton roses have no fear of cold weather. They come up very early, way before the chance of frost is over. And they persist even when the temps get into the 20's over night.
The reason these beauties are not seen and featured is that their beauty isn't staring us in the face. The flowers face down as if they are embarrassed to show themselves.
So, one thing you can do is force them to reveal their faces. I use simple sticks and clothes pins to prop the up for the photo shoot.
Here is what the linton rose looks like from underneath.
Other props I use to help isolate flowers are pieces of fishing line to either hold back other distracting flowers or pull up the subject flower so that it is away from old or ugly neighboring flowers and shrubs.
A sheet of cardboard or poster paper is great for creating a solid background when the real background is just not acceptable. One case I can think of is the front of my yard where I have a small flower bed with the driveway in the background on one side and the street on the other. I put a piece of black posterboard behind the flowers I want to photograph, and it eliminates all distractions.
Here is that same Linton Rose taken with a true macro lens, the Sigma 105mm F2.8 Macro Lens for Canon. It is my "go to" lens for close up photos. And, since it normally faces down, I have propped it up with a stick and clothes pin.
Bartlett Pear Tree Blossoms Bathing In The Morning Light
Tulips - Spring Flowers
The Final Shot
This house is nearby where I work. I had to stop and photograph these beautiful tulips, but I asked permission first.
Here's the story..
The couple that live in the house built it by themselves the year they married, which now is over 60 years ago.
She plants these bulbs every year. They go across the front of the house and down the hedge to the road.
And every week, I drive by and see her pushing the lawn mower, keeping the lawn manicured to perfection.
It's quite the photographer's dream.